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Harley Benton adds Satin Black four and five-string models to the PJ Deluxe Series and they might just be the coolest looking entry-level basses on the market

Harley Benton PJ Deluxe Satin Black
(Image credit: Harley Benton)

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NAMM 2022:  (opens in new tab) Harley Benton remains an evergreen choice for those seeking out a beginner bass guitar and the latest additions to its PJ Deluxe Series might just be the best yet. 

Certainly, they are up there with the most aesthetically pleasing entry-level instruments we’ve seen in many a year.

The PJ-4 SBK Deluxe and PJ-5 SBK Deluxe are four and five-string basses respectively and each arrive in a Satin Black finish, complemented neatly with a tortoiseshell pickguard, and offering a and PJ-style tone platform that can cover almost every musical occasion.

As bass guitar pickup combinations go, it doesn’t get more classic than a single-coil at the bridge for punchy mids and definition and a split-coil offering a plummier, warmer voicing. Between both worlds there is an ocean of tone to navigate, just adjust the individual pickup’s volume pots and the master tone accordingly.

Of course, the design influence is obvious, and one of the most riffed upon in bass history it is quite derivative by this point. But what is it they say about the classics? They never go out of style. And at this price, with those looks, who’s complaining?

For a little over 100 bucks (the four-stringer is listed through Harley Benton distributor and internet gear retail giant Thomann for £110, the five-string at a preposterously attractive £118) you get a solid alder bass with a bolt-on maple neck, a 20-fret roseacre fingerboard, a double-action truss road, plus four-saddle bridge and PJ-style tuners finished in black.

The PJ-4 SBK Deluxe has a 42mm nut width, the PJ-5 SBK Deluxe measures 45mm across the nut.  Both have a 34” scale length. And both are available to preorder now, shipping from 20 June. Head over to Harley Benton for more details.

This is the second big release from Harley Benton this week, with the budget gear titan refreshing the Fusion-III HSH and HH models with roasted maple necks and fingerboards and a raft of appointments including simplified coil-splitting and the choice between Wilkinson and Floyd Rose licensed vibrato units, and locking tuners. Not bad for an electric guitar priced from £255.

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.